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Geometer Worms (Geometridae)

Some families of moths are not named after their imagines (=the adult insects), but after their caterpillars. Moths and butterflies go through the full circle of insectlife: egg, caterpillar, pupa and imago. Eggs and pupae are not very exciting to look at and are therefore not really used to name the animals. Caterpillars and imagos move about and have thus always interested mankind. Some moths are named after their caterpillars, especially because these are even more interesting than the adults. This certainly applies to the Geometer Worms: they can erect themselves to look just like a twig. And when they move they bring the back of the body towards the front, forming a kind of curl. Then they lift the front up to the position that they form one straight line. There are plenty of them in almost all gardens, but many are small and very hard to detect. In this family of moths we find a few species that fly in late fall and, providing it doesn't get too cold, even in winter.



Photograph of Alsophila aescularia
March Moth Alsophila aescularia

Curiously shaped Geometer, looking rather like an overgrown moth. More...


Photograph of Comibaena bajularia
Blotched Emerald Comibaena bajularia

Blotched, unlike other green Geometers. More...


Photograph of Hemithea aestivaria
Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria

No blotches on the main part of the wings, but the fringes are blotched. More...


Photograph of Geometra papilionaria
Large Emerald Geometra papilionaria

A very big species. The usual lines are replaced bij dots. More...


Photograph of Campaea margaritata
Light Emerald Campaea margaritata

This green species quickly turns into white. The green and white line is characteristic More...


Photograph of Hylaea fasciaria
Barred Red Hylaea fasciaria

In Britain usually dull red and not green. The green variation is about as common as the red one on the continent, though. More...


Photograph of Opisthograptis luteolata
Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata

Coloured like the Brimstone Butterfly you'll have no problems identifying this beautiful species. More...


Photograph of Ourapteryx sambucaria
Swallow-tailed Moth Ourapteryx sambucaria

The common name of this species tells you what to look for. More...


Photograph of Timandra comae
Blood Vein Timandra comae

The blood vein in the Blood Vein runs from wing tip to wing tip. More...


Photograph of Cyclophora punctaria
Maiden's Blush Moth Cyclophora punctaria

Speckled species with blushes and a dark line, not beginning at the tip of the wing but somewhere half way the wing. More...


Photograph of Cyclophora albipunctata
Birch Mocha Cyclophora albipunctata

The Birch Mocha is a delicately marked quite beautiful Geometer. More...


Photograph of Macaria notata
Peacock Moth Macaria notata

The notch in the forewing has an unclear brownish colour. More...


Photograph of Macaria alternata
Sharp-angled Peacock Macaria alternata

The notch in this forewing has a thick almost blackish colour. More...


Photograph of Macaria liturata
Tawny-barred Angle Macaria liturata

The forewing of this species shows a broad orange band. More...


Photograph of Cabera exanthemata
Common Wave Cabera exanthemata

Similar to the Common White Wave, but the outer line is slightly bended and not straight. More...


Photograph of Cabera pusaria
Common White Wave Cabera pusaria

Similar to the Common Wave but the outer line runs straight. More...


Photograph of Lomographa temerata
Clouded Silver Lomographa temerata

It is easy to identify this species, even though the cloud is very variable in size. More...


Photograph of Lomaspilis marginata
Clouded Border Lomaspilis marginata

An all white species with a very variable darkly marked border. More...


Photograph of Idaea aversata
Riband Wave Idaea aversata

Not an easy species this Wave, but it is the biggest of them all. More...


Photograph of Idaea seriata
Small Dusty Wave Idaea seriata

Another difficult species, but it is small and dusty. More...


Photograph of Idaea dimidiata
Single-dotted Wave Idaea dimidiata

On the upper wing is a single dot and some dark markings near the inner wing tip. More...


Photograph of Idaea fuscovenosa
Dwarf Cream Wave Idaea fuscovenosa

Has four black dots: one on each wing and usually the base of the leading edge of the forewing is brownish. More...


Photograph of Ligdia adustata
Scorched Carpet Ligdia adustata

Unmistakable species: beautiful and mind the light wing tip. More...


Photograph of Epirrhoe alternata
Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata

The Common Carpet is not difficult to identify, but be careful, for there a few similar species. More...


Photograph of Xanthorhoe fluctuata
Garden Carpet Moth Xanthorhoe fluctuata

Variable species. The band in the middle of the wing starts off keenly, but ends in one big deception. More...


Photograph of Xanthorhoe designata
Flame Carpet Xanthorhoe designata

Very variable species. Both reddish band and black dot may be missing. More...


Photograph of Xanthorhoe ferrugata or Xanthorhoe spadicearia
Red Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe ferrugata
Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe spadicearia

The Red Twin-spot Carpet and the Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet can not be told apart as a rule. More...


Photograph of Mesoleuca albicillata
Beautiful Carpet Mesoleuca albicillata

Beautiful species. There are hardly any similar species around. More...


Photograph of Thera variata or Thera britannica
Spruce Carpet Thera variata and Thera britannica

These two species can be told apart by genital research only. More...


Photograph of Thera obeliscata
Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata

When it is reddish it is this species. When it is grey it is either this species or a Spruce Carpet. No one can tell, actually. More...


Photograph of Thera juniperata
Juniper Carpet Thera juniperata

Juniper Carpet has a black line running upwards from the corner of the wing. More...


Photograph of Chloroclysta truncata
Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata

Often looks like it is very mildewed. More...


Photograph of Colostygia pectinataria
Green Carpet Colostygia pectinataria

It may be called "green", it's often not. More...


Photograph of Eulithis mellinata
Spinach Eulithis mellinata

The Spinach is a rather vaguely marked species. More...


Photograph of Pelurga comitata
Dark Spinach Pelurga comitata

The Dark Spinach has a clear dot in the central part of the wing. More...


Photograph of Anticlea badiata
Yellow Shell Camptogramma bilineata

The Yellow Shell has a beautiful golden appearance. More...


Photograph of Earophila badiata
Shoulder Stripe Earophila badiata

The combination of markings and colours soon gives this one away. More...


Photograph of Pareulype berberata
Barberry Carpet Pareulype berberata

Identification of this species is easy. You'll find it in parks and gardens mainly. More...


Photograph of Perizoma alchemillata
Small Rivulet Perizoma alchemillata

Extremely small Geometer reaching a wingspan of no more than 25 mm! More...


Photograph of Eupithecia succenturiata
Bordered Pug Eupithecia succenturiata

The big white part of the wings makes this one of the easiest species to identify of all pugs. More...


Photograph of Eupithecia intricata
Freyer's Pug Eupithecia intricata

Extremely difficult species to identify, for it is very variable. The black spot on the wing helps a bit: it is not a dot but rather a very short line. More...


Photograph of Eupithecia tantillaria
Dwarfpug Eupithecia tantillaria

Numerous white lines (but not always visible, alas) and the size (this is one of the smallest pugs) should aid in identifying this one. More...


Photograph of Eupithecia abbreviata
Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviata

Usually the vein running near the inner edge of the wing is ochreous or brownish in this species. More...


Photograph of Eupithecia virgaureata
Golden-rod Pug Eupithecia virgaureata

The Golden-rod Pug is usually more lively marked than the very similar Grey Pug. More...


Photograph of Eupithecia absinthiata
Wormwood Pug Eupithecia absinthiata

Always have an expert confirm the Wormwood Pug, for it is a very difficult species to identify. More...


Photograph of Gymnoscelis rufifasciata
Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata

One of the very few pugs showing reddish brown patches. Most others are greyish or greyish brown. More...


Photograph of Gymnoscelis rufifasciata, larva
Double-striped Pug, caterpillar Gymnoscelis rufifasciata

A beautiful shade of pink: the caterpillar of the Double-striped Pug. More...


Photograph of Rhinoprora rectangulata
Green Pug Rhinoprora rectangulata

There is a clearly marked band on the underside of the forewing, something not seen in the V-pug. More...


Photograph of Chloroclystis v-ata
V-pug Chloroclystis v-ata

Like the name suggests, there's a clear V-shaped marking in black on the forewings. More...


Photograph of Chloroclystis v-ata
V-pug Chloroclystis v-ata

The adult V-pug is green, its caterpillar is pinkish. More...


Photograph of Anticollix sparsata
Dentated Pug Anticollix sparsata

A big pug with a notched hindwing. More...


Photograph of Aplocera efformata
Lesser Treble-bar Aplocera efformata

The Lesser Treble-bar is the smallest of two almost identical species. More....


Photograph of Euchoeca nebulata
Dingy Shell Euchoeca nebulata

Usually the Dingy Shell keeps its wings fully upright. More....


Photograph of Selenia dentaria
Early Thorn Selenia dentaria

Usually the Early Thorn keeps its wings fully upright too. More...


Photograph of Selenia tetralunaria
Purple Thorn Selenia tetralunaria

Easily identified by the half moon figure in the forewing, best seen at the underside of the wing. More...


Photograph of Ennomos alniaria
Canary-shouldered Thorn Ennomos alniaria

The extremely hairy, bright yellow body makes this species umistakable. More...


Photograph of Ennomos autumnaria
Large Thorn Ennomos autumnaria

The females are the biggest thorns around and both males and females have a dark spot near the tip of the wing. More...


Photograph of September Thorn
September Thorn Ennomos erosaria

The September Thorn is not canary yellow and has no dark spots in the tip of the wing. More...


Photograph of Colotois pennaria
Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria

One look at the enormous feathery antennae will do. More...


Photograph of Crocallis elinguaria
Scalloped Oak Crocallis elinguaria

Identifiable by the black dot and the resting pose: the wings are held horizontally but do not touch the surface the insect is sitting on. More...


Photograph of Phigalia pilosaria
Pale Brindled Beauty Phigalia pilosaria

This dull and owlet like geometer isn't an easy species to put a name on. More...


Photograph of Phigalia pilosaria, larva
Pale Brindled Beauty, caterpillar Phigalia pilosaria

The caterpillar of the Pale Brindled Beauty looks like a little twig. More...


Photograph of Apocheima hispidaria
Small Brindled Beauty Apocheima hispidaria

Looks like the Pale Brindled Beauty, but there is some grey near the edge of the wings. More...


Photograph of Biston strataria
Oak Beauty Biston strataria

Heavily built, big geometer, on the wing in early spring. Males and females differ a lot. More...


Photograph of Biston betularia
Peppered Moth Biston betularia

May look peppered indeed, but many animals are just dark and almost unmarked (melanism). More...


Photograph of Biston betularia, larva
Peppered Moth, caterpillar Biston betularia

The caterpillar of the Peppered Moth is hard tp locate in trees and shrubs. More...


Photograph of Agriopis aurantiaria
Scarce Umber Moth Agriopis aurantiaria

The beautiful golden brown colour is outstanding. More...


Photograph of Agriopis aurantiaria, larva
Scarce Umber Moth, caterpillar Agriopis aurantiaria

The caterpillar of the Scarce Umber Moth is striped heavily. More...


Photograph of Agriopis leucophaearia
Spring Usher Agriopis leucophaearia

Extremely variable species. So be sure to look at the various pictures of this species. More...


Photograph of Agriopis marginaria
Dotted Border Agriopis marginaria

Has a row of dots near, but not on!, the edge of the forewings. More...


Photograph of Erannis defoliaria
Mottled Umber Moth male Erannis defoliaria

The most variable of all Geometers. Sometimes beautifully and clearly marked, but also entirely unmarked animals do fly about regularly. More...


Photograph of Erannis defoliaria fem.
Mottled Umber Moth female Erannis defoliaria

The females are entirely wingless. They do not even have the stumps so characteristic of most other winter geometers. More...


Photograph of Erannis defoliaria, larva
Mottled Umber Moth, caterpillar Erannis defoliaria

On its sides the caterpillar of the Mottled Umber Moth has what looks like knots. More...


Photograph of Peribatodes rhomboidaria
Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria

More contrasting than other beauties. More...


Photograph of Hypomecis punctinalis
Pale Oak Beauty Hypomecis punctinalis

There is a little circle on the lower wing, which makes all the difference. More...


Photograph of Ectropis crepuscularia
Engrailed Moth Ectropis crepuscularia

Usually the fork like markings on the forewings give this one away. More...


Photograph of Ectropis crepuscularia, larva
Engrailed Moth, caterpillar Ectropis crepuscularia

The caterpillar of the Engrailed Moth has a clear V on the top of the body. More...


Photograph of Ematurga atomaria
Common Heath Ematurga atomaria

Common on heath, but extremely variable species. More...


Photograph of Operophtera brumata
Winter Moth Operophtera brumata

Almost identical to the Northern Winter Moth, but usually slightly darker and never shiny. More...


Photograph of Operophtera brumata, larva
Winter Moth, caterpillar Operophtera brumata

The caterpillar of the Winter Moth may be green, or white. More...


Photograph of Operophtera fagata
Northern Winter Moth Operophtera fagata

The twin of Winter Moth, but always a bit shiny, a little silky. More...


Photograph of Epirrita autumnata
Autumnal Moth Epirrita autumnata

Variable and almost impossible to tell apart from similar species. More...


Photograph of Epirrita dilutata
November Moth Epirrita dilutata

In spite of the name it is on the wing in October mainly. More...


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This page has last been modified on Saturday, October 20, 2018.
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